Bridge failure and bridge collapses are tragic events but it happens due to natural calamities, faulty designs, deficient structures, poor inspections and a myriad of other reasons. Repairing and replacement of damaged bridge components increases the costs of maintaining a bridge. Researchers and government agencies around the world are taking steps to develop technologies which can increase the safety of public and crew on bridges by conducting inspections with modern technology and robotics. These new technologies enable bridge inspections to take place using non-destructive testing methods. Non-destructive Testing “NDT” reduces the damage to the structure being inspected. The old method of inspection was visual subjective or destructive. Destructive testing will further risk an asset to corrosion and deterioration.
Non destructive methods like Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR), electromagnetic waves, ultrasonic and infrared waves, aerial imaging, laser scanning, thermal imageing, etc. have revolutionized the bridge inspection industry, as these methods are much efficient than the conventional drilling, chipping and sampling methods.
Main Causes of Bridge Failures?
One of the biggest questions in the industry is what is the biggest cause of bridge failures? If bridges are required to be inspected every two years for every bridge in the national bridge inventory than why would a bridge ever fail due to structural issues. If issues were caught early and repaired on time than could have these bridge failures been prevented?
The main causes of bridge failures or collapses today are following as:
Design flaws – inadequate faulty design have lead to bridge collapses in past. Some of those include; Palau bridge, Gertie bridge and 135W bridge. In case of some of these complex structures, experimental studies have been conducted by reviewing the collapses to see which component caused the failure. By studying and design flaws or elements that may have been faulty, we can try to prevent these things from happening in the future.
Vehicle overload – allowing the access to a large number of vehicles, especially over a bridge that was built to handle a much lower population a long time ago can cause overload which can bend or deflect the reinforced concrete members causing cracks and even failure. Use of high strength material like prestressed concrete which has post tension tendons can make the structure flexible enough to bear the extra load.
Damaged piers – bridge piers play a major role in keeping the bridge in an upright position and bearing the load of the traffic therefore, any damage to them can cause bridge collapse. Regular bridge inspection with non invasive Non Destructive Testing can provide accurate condition of the external as well as the internal surface of these members conducted on a regular basis can identify damaged piers so that they can be repaired prior to failing.
Metal corrosion and fatigue – moving water can seep into the columns and concrete causing corrosion over time. Constant overload can cause fatigue in the structural components causing internal cracks, voids and other deteriorations which are not visible on the surface. If these damages are not monitored properly then it can lead to bridge collapse in due course of time. Nondestructive testing methods can monitor these internal damages and also illustrate it in 2D and 3D for easy and quick analysis so that required steps can be taken to conduct repairs in a timely manner.
Accidents – sudden impact caused by large vehicle like trucks or big boats to the structure of the bridge like supports over deck or to the foundation can weaken the structure and make way for other damaging factors. Emergency nondestructive testing and forensic assessments of these components can help the inspector in making a precise condition assessment report to help the asset managers make good budgetary decisions.
Infrastructure Preservation Corporation (IPC) is a trusted name in bridge inspection and other related services and utilizes robotic and nondestructive testing methods to provide accurate, quick and cost effective condition assessment reports to the bridge owners. Our testing systems like CrackScan, TendonScan, CableScan, PoleScan and BridgeScan provide customized services which utilize modern technology and robotics to maintain bridge safety, the safety of the public and can help prevent costly untimely replacements of major assets.
For more details of our products and services, you can either visit our site https://www.infrastructurepc.com/ or leave your contact details with us through our contact form to get a free estimate of our services and we will get back to you in shortest time possible.
To know more about please follow this link: Ground Penetrating Radar and Post Tension Tendon.
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